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The Trail of 100 Giants is located inside Sequoia National Forest, which covers over 1 million acres across three California counties. / Courtesy Photo

Maturango Museum field trip includes Trail of 100 Giants

Maturango Museum– On Saturday, June 17, Naturalist Janet Westbrook will lead a field trip starting at Lake Isabella and Trail of 100 Giants.  A search for huge red trees and flowers in cool high places of the Giant Sequoia National Monument(GSNM) and the Western Divide of the Southern Sierra Nevada (west and north of Kernville).  Quite different over there!  Results of a big fire two years ago to look at.

Meet at 9:00 a.m. at the Museum for check-in and paperwork; participants will be required to sign a liability waiver. Car caravan will be organized, and carpools will be encouraged because of limited parking.

The cost will be $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers, + a parking fee.  The member price applies to members only, not nonmember guests.   Family members encouraged.  No pets this time, sorry, not allowed on trails.  Tickets will be in the museum store or online soon.

Be prepared with a full tank of gas, car, and tires in good running order. 4×4 is not at all necessary.  Mountain car, yes.   If needed, there is gas in Kernville as we come and go that way. The usual dress code for field trips applies a hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, layered clothing, water, a camera, and binoculars. Mosquito goo!!!

The trip has two parts.

First, there is the lake in Lake Isabella.  We go along the South Shore of Lake Isabella, hop off the freeway onto Hwy 155 and go to Wofford Heights and Kernville, with a stop at Riverside Park to admire the river and maybe munch lunch.  The river is awesome!

Talk about the newly revised dam, maybe nip into Keysville to take a look at the dam and river.

Continue up the river to the Johnsondale Bridge and to Johnsondale (R Ranch).  Continue west up to Hwy 190; pit stop; go to the yurt day use parking at Redwood Meadow CG.  Parking is $12/vehicle OR $6 with a National Park Pass of some kind or an Active Veteran card.

The second part is the Giant Sequoia National Monument explorations – (everything west of the Johnsondale Bridge)

    The highlight of the GSNM is the “Trail of 100 Giants,” a paved one-mile-long loop trail that does indeed pass many Giant Sequoia trees over ten ft. in diameter, and three which are over 20 feet in diameter!  Slowly walk the trail looking at all manner of trees and animals and secrets of the Western Divide forests of the Southern Sierra. You will learn over a dozen types of trees, but especially the Giant Sequoia.  Why are they important?  How do we “save” them?  Why did the big ones fall over?  How did the fire affect the back of the area?  Look at what’s regrowing after the fire. Take the side loop, another .5 mi.

Return is along the same roads back to Johnsondale, the North Fork of the Kern River, and Kernville.

Bring a picnic lunch and a folding chair.  We’ll find a pretty shady place for lunch.  Bring water, drinks, and snacks for the day, as there are few eating facilities once we pass Kernville. (The Yurt has drinks and snacks)  (The deli at the Sierra Gateway Store is outstanding.)You may want to consider stopping in the Kernville area, Kern River Brewery, Johnny McNally’s, or the McNally Hamburger Stand (closes at 6) for dinner on your way home.    Driving – about 230 paved miles.